There’s this meme post going around called "The Next Big Thing" where new authors answer questions about the books they’re working on. I’ve been tagged by Sofia Samatar back in October, and then tagged again by my VPXV classmate Blair MacGregor in December. So I am really, really late on this. But never late than never, hey?
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The Weeping of the Willows.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Different elements of the story came from different parts of my life.
When I was in college, I had a friend who had kept swords in his dorm room. Sometimes, we would stage fake fights. From that, I got the idea of a black girl assassin.
Because of my Christian charismatic background, I wanted to write a world that explored the nature of prophecy. I combined that with the madness of the Greek oracles to come up with the concept of voices in my story. I also love growing herbs, and that’s where I got the idea of herbmasters instead of doctors.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I doubt it would ever get turned into a movie, but I think an older version of the girl who played Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild would be perfect as my main character, Coren.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A black female assassin is assigned to kill a herbmaster, but becomes a bodyguard to his son, the prophesied destroyer of the world.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
When I finish it (and by God, it will get finished), I plan to send it to agents, but also to publishers. We’ll see what happens then.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Officially, I started writing this in 1992 and made it up to 15 chapters before I stopped in 1997. I picked it up again in 2004, decided I had no clue what I was doing, threw all those chapters out, and started rewriting from scratch. I finished the first draft in July 2007 and saw that I had enough for two books. So I broke them in half, and I’ve been in rewrites since.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hm…probably the closest would be the Sun Sword series by Michelle West.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Over time, the story evolved to the theme of identity. What is identity? How can you claim identity when it’s been taken from you without your knowledge? What must you sacrifice to forge your own identity? In a way, the book mirrors my own journey as I wrestle with these questions.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Swordfights! Plagues! Talking trees! Politics! Meddling aunts! And lots of swears and oaths…
Include the person who tagged you, and add other people if you like:
As I said, I was tagged by both Sofia Samatar and Blair MacGregor. I’m going to return the favor and tag my other VPXV classmate Veronica Henry, as well as fellow Madisonite Monica Valentinelli, and David Steffen who is one of the masterminds behind The (Submission) Grinder, an alternative to Duotrope.